Many white students are barely exposed to African-American history throughout their schooling. When students do examine the other side of American history, the one not generally found in their textbooks, they often wonder why they have not learned this before. An understanding of African-American history is central to any effort to eliminate racism. This is particularly true in New England where most schools are predominantly white, and myths and stereotypes are not countered by exposure to a diverse community. By learning about the pragmatic economic reasons for slavery in Colonial America and the years of Jim Crow laws, white and black students begin to understand the American caste system--based on the established inferiority of the African-American race--and the complex racial problems facing America today. Students need to learn how the accomplishments of the Civil Rights Movement have mitigated, but have not eliminated, prejudice and racial discrimination in American culture. White students also need to learn about the African-American men and women who have shaped history such as Benjamin Bannecker, Marcus Garvey, Paul Robeson, Adam Clayton Powell, and Althea Gibson. New England is not immune to racism, but racism can be eliminated through education.